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seized the volume in despair, and rushed from the apartment."
A festival much honoured by the Chinese, and indicative of their ancient regard for agriculture, is that which takes place when the sun reaches the 15° of Aquarius. The Governor of every capital city issues in state towards the eastern gate, to meet the spring," which is represented by a procession bearing a huge clay figure of the buffalo, called by the Chinese “ water bullock," (from its propensity for muddy shallows,) which is always used to drag their plough through the flooded rice-grounds. The train is attended by litters, on which are borne children fancifully dressed, and decorated with flowers, representing mythological personages; and the whole is accompanied by a band of musicians. When they have reached the Governor's house, he delivers a discourse in his capacity of Priest of Spring, recommending the care of husbandry; and after he has struck the clay buffalo thrice with a whip, the people fall upon with stones, and break in pieces the image, whose hollow inside is filled with a multitude of smaller images in clay, for which they scramble. This ceremony bears some resemblance to the procession of the bull Apis in ancient Egypt, which was connected in like manner with the labours of agriculture, and the hopes of an abundant season.
The Emperor himself, at about the same period of the year, honours the profession of husbandry by going through the ceremony of holding the plough, Accompanied by some Princes of the blood, and a selection of the principal ministers, he proceeds to a field set apart for the purpose, in the enclosure which surrounds the Temple of the Earth, where every thing has been duly prepared by regular husbandmen in attendance. After certain sacrifices, consisting of grain which has been preserved from the produce of the
same field, the Emperor ploughs a few furrows, after which he is followed by the Princes and ministers in order. The “five sorts of grain” are then sown, and when the Emperor has viewed the completion of the work by the husbandmen present, the field is committed to the charge of an officer, whose business it is to collect and store the produce for sacrifices.
The same countenance and example which the Emperor affords in person to the production of the principal materials of food, is given by the Empress to the cultivation of the mulberry, and the rearing of silkworms, the sources whence they derive their chief substance for clothing, and the care of which for the most part comes under the female department. In the ninth moon, the Empress proceeds with her principal ladies to sacrifice at the altar of the inventor of the silk manufacture; and when that ceremony is concluded, they collect a quantity of the mulberry-leaves, which are devoted to the nourishment of the imperial depôt of silkworms. Various other processes connected with the same business are gone through, as heating the cocoons in water, winding off the filament, &c.; and so the ceremony concludes. Of the sixteen “Sacred edicts” addressed to the people, the fourth relates exclusively to the two foregoing subjects.—“ Attend (it is said) to your farms and mulberry-trees, that you may have sufficient food and clothing;" and they are reminded that, although only four of the provinces (all of them cut by the 30th parallel of latitude) produce silk in perfection, yet there are the equally useful materials, elsewhere, of hemp and cotton. " Thus different are the sources whence clothing is procured; but the duty of preparing it, as exemplified in the cultivation of the mulberry-tree, is one and the same. One of the Em. perors of the present dynasty caused a work to be published expressly in illustration of the two great
departments of native industry. It is styled Keng-chě Too, “ Illustrations of Husbandry and Weaving,” and consists of numerous wood-cuts, representing the various processes in the production of rice and silk, with letter-press descriptions. The great preference which the rulers of China give to such kinds of industry over the pursuits of commerce, but especially foreign commerce, would seem to be dictated by a sentiment analogous to that which is conveyed in four of Goldsmith's lines :
“That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away ;
The principal public festivals of China, that remaini to be noticed, are not numerous. The fifth day of the fifth moon, which usually occurs in June, is celebrated in a way which cannot fail to excite the attention of a visitor to Canton. Very long, narrow boats, built for the purpose, are manned by forty to sixty, and sometimes eighty men with paddles, who keep time to the beat of a gong, with which one of the crew stands up in the boat. These race against each other on the rivers with great heat and emulation, and accidents frequently occur from the upsetting or breaking of the "dragon-boats," as they are called, from their great length. This constitutes one of the few athletic diversions of the Chinese.
On the first day of the seventh moon, or some time in the month of August, they have a festival for the benefit of their departed relatives in the world of spirits. It is not a domestic celebration, however, but a publicone : large mat houses are erected, ornamented with lanterns and chandeliers, in which are placed images of the infernal deities, including Yen-Wang, the Chinese Pluto. Priests of the Budh sect are